Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 10, 2004

Congress needs to stand up to gun interests

As a public health professional and a concerned citizen, I read The Sun's article "Senate defeats gun bills after hostile amendments" (March 3) with a mixture of amazement and disgust.

Gun-related violence is a major public health problem in this country. According to the Congressional Research Service, firearms killed more than 8,000 people in 2001. Furthermore, the estimated annual medical costs associated with gun injuries and deaths total more than $2.3 billion -- almost half of which is paid for by taxpayers.

Given the huge economic and social costs of gun-related violence, it's outrageous that the Senate was considering granting gun manufacturers immunity from lawsuits.

What's even more outrageous is how the bill was defeated. By including amendments to close the gun show loophole and to continue the assault weapons ban, Senate Democrats were merely following public sentiment.

By allowing the National Rifle Association to defeat the amended bill, the Senate has set a dangerous precedent for future legislation. What does this say about the ability of Congress to represent the will of the people in the face of lobbying by special interest groups?

It is time that gun manufacturers be held accountable for the devastation wrought by their products.

And it is essential that Congress stand up to the special interest groups and pass legislation that protects the citizens of this country.

Amy Medley

Baltimore

Bill would prevent ridiculous lawsuits

The Sun's editors are truly living in a fantasy world if they believe that the failure of the bill that would have prevented ridiculous lawsuits against firearms manufacturers was in fact a "demonstration of bipartisan support for gun control" ("Guns and politics," editorial, March 4). If the bill had not had the ridiculous amendments attached to it, it would have passed.

The assault weapons ban is going to expire because politicians elected by voters who work with facts outnumber those elected by the ignorant.

David Titus

Baltimore

Gambling revenue is a sucker's bet

It's time to write the final chapter on the slots issue in Maryland ("Inner Harbor glitters as Md. gambling prize," March 5).

It's a sucker's bet to think that slots would save the horse racing industry, provide sufficient funding for our schools and balance the state budget without tax increases. More gambling would only make a few rich people wealthier, destroy many lives and turn Maryland into a sleazy state.

Slots are bad for families, businesses and Maryland's good image.

Instead, let's take the high road and pay the price for good government. Let's close the corporate tax loopholes, raise taxes on our wealthiest citizens so they pay their fair share, and increase the income tax rate if that's needed.

Sound government in Maryland will come through responsible choices, not gambling.

David L. Pollitt

Forest Hill

Casino could ruin city's Inner Harbor

Casinos draw large numbers of visitors, but those visitors are not necessarily interested in anything outside of the casino building ("Inner Harbor glitters as Md. gambling prize," March 5).

Casinos are designed to keep patrons happy and inside the building until their wallets are empty and they leave. This design is antithetical to the festival marketplace design of the Inner Harbor, and could be devastating.

Joel A. Gallihue

Columbia

If city saves schools, who will save city?

Baltimore City is nothing more than a mismanaged welfare state. And its school system is a shining example of bureaucracy and ineptitude run amok. Not only did it squander funds and spend far beyond its means, but school officials can't even figure out who spent the money and where it went. And the blame game continues.

So now the city is going to bail out the schools ("City rejects state plan, offers own school loan," March 9). Who is going to bail out the city?

Dennis Sirman

Westminster

Irrational to reject help from the state

How discouraging to read the article "City rejects state plan, offers own school loan" (March 9). Why in the world wouldn't we want "outsiders" to fix our school system crisis -- wasn't it us on the inside who created the mess?

How unfortunate that we can't accept assistance from people of the caliber of state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick and Robert R. Neall because they don't live in Baltimore.

Is this arrogance on the part of our City Council? Do they think they can fix the mess that they passively watched develop? Or is it merely politics that causes the City Council to relegate our children to last place?

For more than a quarter of a century, we in Baltimore, under the leadership of our City Council and several mayors, have failed to provide adequate education for our children. Finally, the city has an opportunity to get serious help and we turn it down.

Did I really read this? Do Baltimoreans realize where our leaders are leading us?

Doreen Rosenthal

Baltimore

Year isn't enough to master English

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